Lately I have been marveling at how awesome libraries are.

I have been thinking this largely due to the fact that I discovered the Brainerd Public Library, which is part of the Kitchigami Regional Library network (so I have a card), has a 3D printer, and all you have to do is send a file to print. I've sent a project to that library every week since finding this out. How long before we can get such a printer in Pine River?

I digress. The truth is that there are many reasons to love having a local library - so many that I guarantee if I ever won the lottery I would start my spending spree by building a library in Backus.

Here's a list of some of the things we should all love about the library. Some of them don't even require a card!

  • Access to countless books in house: This one's obvious. The buildings house many, many books, some of them rare and valuable, and they allow us bibliophiles to borrow them.
  • Access to books across the Kitchigami network: Not only can you access books that make their home in Pine River, you can request books from other affiliated libraries. That means you can find almost anything your heart desires using your library card.
  • Activities and speakers: I don't have children, so I don't exactly benefit from some of the events, though I have photographed more than a few. Libraries do, however, have plenty of activities for adults, from educational speakers and events for family and friends, including escape rooms. Anyone who says there is nothing to do in Pine River doesn't watch the library close enough.
  • Movies: Like renting movies but hate paying to rent movies? The library has you covered there. Just be sure to return the movies you borrow and you can have free “rentals” any time you like. Libraries have some good ones on hand too.
  • Website subscriptions: The library network has membership to various paid subscription websites, including genealogy websites and websites with professional research papers, among others. The resources here are perfect for anyone with a curious mind.
  • Annual book sales: Everyone knows that libraries have annual book sales. I don't know about everyone else, but they always happen when I am between paychecks. I have filled a shelf or two with the books purchased at the Pine River book sale during Summerfest. It's probably good I never make it to the sales in Pequot Lakes, Crosslake or elsewhere.
  • 3D printing: As mentioned above, to use this service you have to drive to Brainerd to pick up your 3-D printed items, but your library card still gives you access to this cool program. Combined with free 3D model files from Thingiverse.com, you can print kitchen gadgets, fishing gear and even parts for building your own 3D printer.
  • E-books: You can borrow e-books for your tablet or e-reader from most libraries.
  • Audio books: Going on a long trip? Get an audio book.

I'm certain I am forgetting something, because I know there are millions of things I can do with my library card. So, if you haven't been to the library in a while, be sure to swing in and get acquainted. They have something for everybody.